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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

A.R.F. or Amaryllis Rescue in Florida 

I emailed my friend, Liz Donovan, the other day to let her know about the most recent Florida gardening articles posted to this site. She responded by telling me she too had just returned from North Carolina and was seeing daffodils sprouting. She then went on to mention a multi-flowered amaryllis she has blooming in her yard. It seems that Liz successfully performed amaryllis rescue – she rescued the bulb from her neighbor’s yard last year before they bulldozed the place to build a new house. Obviously the amaryllis was very appreciative of her good deed and has been rewarding her with magnificent blooms.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, amaryllis is our substitute for tulips here in the sunny south. Hippeastrum vittatum hails from Peru and is one of the best performing bulbs for this state. It is planted from October through February, and produces flowers from as early as March through May. (It generally takes about two months from the time of planting to the time of blooming.) Its trumpet-shaped flowers can be as large as 6-8 inches in width and are borne in clusters of two to five. Leaves are strap-shaped and about an inch broad and up to 2 feet long. Flower colors range from white to red in solid and striped colors.

Amaryllises (I want to say amarylli but it’s not correct) prefer partial shade and should be planted with one-third to one-half of the bulb above the ground. After multiplying for a few years, the bulbs can be lifted, separated and replanted in a new bed with amended soil.

If you ever get a chance to perform amaryllis rescue, it will definitely be worth it for the gorgeous blooms. If your neighbors won't share, visit one of the bulb resources listed on this site. Happy Gardening and keep an eye out for the bulldozers.

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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